UK’s Local Businesses to Get EU Funding
The UK government has confirmed which parts of the country have successfully won Assisted Area status. The status makes local businesses eligible to bid for additional funding and tax breaks to create jobs, invest in new premises or machinery and grow.
Manufacturing centres including Derby, Huddersfield, Portsmouth and Scunthorpe have now been added to the Assisted Areas map, in addition to the large parts of north-east England, south Yorkshire, Merseyside, Strathclyde, the west Midlands and the Welsh Valleys, which were already benefiting from being on the map.
The government has also added Leeds and Manchester to the map to help drive business growth across the north of England. And coastal towns such as Arbroath, Blackpool, Hastings and Lowestoft have also been included on the new map to help promote regeneration.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said:
“Assisted Area status can be a shot in the arm for growth and jobs across the UK. It makes local businesses eligible to bid for additional funding and support that can help them to create jobs, invest in new premises or machinery, develop and grow.
We listened carefully to local groups to identify places where regional aid can have the biggest impact and help to rebalance the economy. The regeneration of a range of industrial centres, coastal and urban areas has been given a boost today.”
Assisted Area status makes businesses eligible to apply for regional aid, which is typically offered as capital investment for businesses in less prosperous local economies. Programmes in England that offer regional aid include the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).
Assisted Area status does not guarantee regional aid funding. Businesses in other parts of the country can still receive support, including RGF and AMSCI, for a wide range of projects.
Eligible areas were selected based on a combination of economic need and economic opportunity. Places with the potential for business growth, particularly manufacturing, have been favoured.
There have been 2 consultations on which areas should qualify, with input from Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities ensuring that local intelligence was a key driver in the process.
The government’s Assisted Areas map is still subject to Commission approval and is expected to take effect on 1 July 2014.
Press release, May 5, 2014; Image: UK Government